Your Doctor Tutor Your Child?
Tracy Sherwood, Superphonics Founder
I wish there were a magic pill to help our children
concentrate and progress along with normal children.
The twists and turns of my road to understanding
the problems of ADHD and education in general,
have so many times taken me to better understanding,
only to reveal that there is so much more to learn.
are so many medical and mental studies, opposing
studies, educated arguments and emotional controversy
to sift through. Had I simply been a parent, teacher,
physician or mental health professional, I don't
believe I would have the inside knowledge I have
today. If one were to look at 'whom' the experts
are, and at who has a say as to whether to medicate
or not medicate, one could categorize this list
in order of legitimate expertise beginning with
the least expert. Ironically, I would consider
the psychiatrist, psychologist and medical practitioner
to be the least expert. And if you are a parent
or teacher, you may find you soon agree with me.
and mental practitioners
psychiatrist, psychologist and medical doctor
acquire knowledge from study and lectures, not
from working with or teaching children. The actual
time spent with a particular child is minimal,
averaging 10 minutes with the child if that. The
time spent trying to teach a child is zero. But
we never think of this fact do we?
or examination done on a particular child is standardized
and limited in information it will have to offer,
even though each may appear to be extensive and
result in a diagnosis. There is no teaching being
done. Attention span, and knowledge may tested
along with ability to learn and concentration
in relation to learning. Medicos do the usual
check up and ask a few questions before writing
up the prescription. It's all too quick and easy.
Misdiagnosis is rampant and goes largely unchecked.
what these tests do not show, or prove, is why
the difficulties. Are there audio (sound) or visual
processing problems of a mental nature? If so,
why? If it's not physically his eyes and it's
not his ears, then why? That's where the science
comes in right? Maybe. For now, what I want you
to see, is that the person giving this child the
test, is not teaching the child, has no experience
in teaching the child, has not persisted in trying
to teach the child, does not know what it will
take to get through to the child, nor how many
little breakthroughs it will take before the child's
symptoms vanish. And shockingly, this person is
not even trained to teach this child even if he
were to sit down to try. He (or she) could not
and would not get results because he is not trained
to get results through teaching. He is trained
to look for symptoms and write prescriptions based
on authoritative research and science that does
not come from a single person expert in teaching
can step in with big words and degrees, and convince
us that the problem is something in the brain
that you can't see and the drugs are the only
solution. But can he teach phonics? Not a chance!
it ever crossed your mind that a medical practitioner
is not a teacher?
you ever asked yourself how he could know what
your child needs to make better academic progress
if he is not by training an 'educator'?
few have given lectures from acquired materials,
but if a child lags behind or becomes confused,
do they know how to catch him up or unconfuse
him? Do you think they do much of this? Even teachers
don't have the resources and time to do this with
students. But a teacher has more expertise in
doing this than a medical or mental practitioner!
So, never being a teacher, how is it that a doctor
or psychologist or psychiatrist is an expert in
why your child isn't learning well? Is this logical
to you? They are simply self-proclaimed experts
in a field they know nothing of! Can the art critic
paint? Very few critics paint. But he can sound
convincingly authoritative. Luckily, he can't
prescribe drugs to artists.
would love to appear on Oprah with a learning
disabled child between myself and a child psych
or physician. I would love to let the psych or
doc have 30 minutes to make progress with this
child's ability to spell, read words, comprehend
or to focus a little better. And when done, I
would let him write his prescription, and have
Oprah hold it in her hand while I play with the
child for 25 minutes with some learning techniques.
At end, the audience would decide whether the
prescription should be filled or torn up and the
child given over to me for tutoring. I would accept
this challenge in a heartbeat. I promise you,
for almost any child with a supposed learning
disability, the disability has been in the teaching.
this mean that there are no practitioners that
know how to teach a struggling child? Actually,
I know quite a few. But these practitioners, whether
mental or medical, consider labeling an act of
ignorance and degradation. And not one would prescribe
me for a list of some of these practitioners
'who are also trained to teach'.
least expert on teaching your child
parent may seem to be less expert in knowing their
child's difficulties that the teacher, because
the teacher spends more time with the child in
an educational setting than does the parent and
is of course, trained to teach. But the parent
is not less expert. Not the responsible parent
teacher, teaching an entire classroom, and seeing
only the child's work and attitude in the group
academic and social setting, misses much. The
teacher is not able to observe much of the student's
actual learning. He only sees he is or isn't attentive
and grades the work that is turned in – or notes
it was not turned in or is incomplete. The teacher
doesn't even have the time to ask the questions:
What was the child thinking when he did this work?
How early in this book did he give up? What part
of it lost him? What exactly isn't he understanding
and what's the barrier? How is it he can leave
out so much of a spelling word… or add letters
you don't even hear? I see he's fidgeting, talking,
restless, getting into trouble and doing everything
but learning. But there's no time to help this
child one-on-one or to even find out what he's
not getting and why. This leaves the teacher only
one duty, and that is to report the quantity and
quality of his work and what is observed in a
group setting. And illegally, but often true,
the teacher recommends medication based on a list
of symptoms that come from the even less expert:
the mental health guy who are not educators and
do not know your child.
is the parent, or at least the more responsible
parent. This parent may not know how to teach
and may have forgotten most of these basics, but
what he is able to help with,
provides the parent with some feedback from his
voice-to-voice, the parent is seeing the child's
life and interaction to what he hears, sees, learns,
and what confuses him. The parent is right in
the middle of the thought process and activity
and has close up observation of the child in learning
and social situations.
parent's attention is on his child, not a group
of children. The moments of confusion and frustration
are right there in front of him. The parent equally
observes the moments of clarity, interest and
confidence. There are times the child understands
things so clearly and when this happens, there
is a calmness or excitement that accompanies it.
We think, "If he could only be
like this more than not".
does this clarity of thought go? His attention
flits like a hummingbird, yet even a hummingbird
has direction. The parent sees what the teacher
doesn't see - the moments of his true potential.
But the parent doesn't understand why it comes
and goes and what to do about it.
the parent becomes impatient with the bad moments
or strikes out, guilt builds up, often hidden,
but close by. This guilt drives a wedge between
parent and child until the parent is no longer
able to observe or acknowledge the good moments.
To escape the guilt, the parent gives in
and allows others to evaluate the situation for
him and accepts answers he is not sure of. The
loving parent cops out and often defends his position
at the risk of being wrong. All this, when he
truly wants to do what's right and help their
child. But it all becomes so confusing and emotionally
the parent knew what I know - and much of it he
does, but doesn't realize it - then he would be
the best medicine for his child. He would realize
that the medical and mental doctors don't know
his child at all. The teacher wants to, but can
never know this child like the parent. They have
never intimately related to this child and seen
him at his emotionally, intellectually and creatively
best and worse. A parent experiences this with
his child from birth and thousands of times through
his life. The teacher may or may not observe a
few such moments.
one session, I will know more about one child
in regard to his learning process, barriers and
potential than your medical or mental practitioner,
his teacher and parents combined.
Because my hours are not spent on studying medical
and mental texts, prescribing medications and
examining a child's heartbeat and blood.
my hours are not spent teaching a paced curriculum
to a large group of children, getting them in
their seats, watching many yawn in confusion and
grading the endless piles of work. I don't have
to suffer through seeing the child left behind
from the school years prior and knowing I can't
possibly abandon the others to catch him up.
not the parent that has to discipline, protect,
and bar the child from dangers. I don't have to
deal with his will when it comes to what programs
he can see, when he has to go to bed, how he takes
care of his body and possessions, who his friends
are, what he eats, what he wears, how much he
helps, how he treats others, when he tells the
truth, and what secrets he hides.
is very difficult for most parents to get their
child to learn from them when there are so many
other upsets in life that have built up.
when the child doesn't understand, and the parent
doesn't know how to get them to understand, or
can't get their attention to try to help them
understand, frustration sets in.
only happens when you don't know what to do. You
may know the subject, but you may not know how
to get them to understand it.
may know what to say to get them to understand
it, but you may not know what to do to get them
to listen to you.
may know how to punish, blackmail, bribe or even
force them, but you may not know how to get them
to do it without an attitude, or with some pride
about it, and what about tomorrow?
are many different situations parents run into
when helping their child learn, but when frustration
sets in, it always means one
thing; there's some problem and the parent
doesn't know what to do about it.
the child's frustration comes from the same thing:
there's a problem and he doesn't know what to
do about it either.
the child may think his problem is that he doesn't
want the parent in his face, or force him to do
work, or that he wants to do something else.
children are naturally curious. They are natural
learners. This natural urge to learn is only interrupted
when the learning stops coming easily to him.
There has been some confusion that was not cleared
up or someone upset him in the process of learning.
There are many ways this can happen, but the result
is, he becomes less able or willing to learn.
it comes to parents helping their child, there
is this big barrier: parents and children
know each other's buttons and can really tromp
am the tutor who has spent my hours of expertise,
tutoring. I have come to see what's going on in
the mind of the child while trying to learn. Below
the symptoms of, say ADHD, there are factors that
the mental health guys don't know or don't want
you to know about.
know them all, very well. I know them because
I have made progress with these children and the
more years that I tutor such children, the faster
and smoother the progress becomes. I know what
to try nutritionally, emotionally and academically
with each individual child.
am there to see if each tried thing works or does
not work and what to try next until we finally
do make a breakthrough. I'm not taking reports
from studies that others have done. I'm not doing
a few sporadic studies and with those, coming
to conclusions. I do not take scientific data
and fit it in to the solution of my struggling
student. I only go by what I see in front of me
and what I've seen over thirty years of tutoring.
there is some physiological deficiency or injury
to the nervous system that can be unquestionably
proven, such as brain damage, severe illness or
mental birth defects, it always comes down to
three potential things: 1. The emotional effects
on the child from the environment 2. Nutritional
deficiencies or allergies 3. Missing basics,
confusions, or forced education (which would fall
under #1 above).
process of elimination, the answer or answers
always appear and the symptoms of ADHD disappear
quickly or lesson gradually before disappearing.
But at end, they always disappear. I can prove
this to anyone wanting to see this for him or
expert is the tutor, who has tutored thousands
of hours one-to-one, and has successfully and
consistently taught children who were said to
be learning disabled. It is the expert tutor,
and only the expert tutor, who has intimate understanding
of a child's abilities and disabilities in regard
to learning and his attitude toward learning.
teacher knows this and often recommends the parents
find a good tutor. The medical practitioner rarely
recommends tutoring because if the child makes
good progress and no longer needs the practitioner,
he reduces his own bread and butter. I'm sorry,
but this is true! This is also why the medicos
do not say, 'Pick up some vitamin-C from the grocery
store, 1000 mg, and take 5 of them right away
and then one every waken hour until the infection
is gone". Heck, next time you wouldn't even
to into the doctor! You would just pull out the
trusty Vitamin C.
medicos make his living by multiple and future
visits and to do that, he must treat symptoms,
not give you the secrets to never needing him!
drug companies are the ones that promote the drugs
to the medical practitioners. Make no mistake;
the doctors do not have time to keep up on all
the drugs coming to them from the drug companies.
If they have the time to read the literature at
all, surely they don't have time to investigate
the hazards or effectiveness of each. They have
a book, listing the drugs and they keep up somewhat
on what symptoms various drugs are prescribed
for and what drugs should not be taken with other
drugs and such. But very often, they don't even
give the parent the list of warnings with the
prescription, which are not hard to read anyway,
amidst the medical terminology, small print and
heavy reading. It's much like someone explaining
the three-page contract you are about to sign,
in three or four sentences. And then you sign
it. We trust them.
it makes sense to you, that it may possibly be
true, that most professional tutors, or at least
this tutor and author, more likely know more about
helping your child than the medical or mental
fields, teachers and yourself included, then read
this book and see if more of your questions don't
have answers. Answers that I wouldn't expect you
to believe just because I say I am the expert.
talking about answers that you will know are right
or wrong with little or no question and a few
simple trials and experiments at home.
answers that you already knew but didn't know
how to implement.
of these answers require more work than some parents
have the self-discipline for. If you need a tutor,
me for a good reference in your area.
of the answers are so simple that your situation
with your child will change for the better right
here and now.
are so powerful that they will change your life
in many different ways, not simply for your child.
accepts a limited number of private students throughout
Southern California. To schedule a private evaluation